Join us in celebrating the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. To gear up for the June 26 anniversary, msnbc will feature couples’ and individuals’ reflections on the impact the decision has had on their lives and the future of the LGBT rights fight in the United States.
In the last year, marriage equality has come to nine states. Federal judges have also struck down same-sex marriage bans in Idaho, Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan, Texas, and Utah, though their decisions are on hold pending appeals.
No ban on same-sex nuptials has survived in federal court since DOMA’s demise. And, as of Friday, every remaining ban has been hit with a legal challenge. Both marriage equality advocates, and opponents alike, believe it won’t be long before the issue is once again before the U.S. Supreme Court, and ultimately legalized throughout the nation.
Name: Carter Gibson
Residence: San Francisco, California
Profession: Community Manager, Mobile Games
Have you noticed a general shift in attitude toward the LGBT community since the Supreme Court ruling?
"I think we could have better used the momentum of the DOMA ruling to more quickly enact change on the state level."'
The biggest attitude shift I've seen is from the media. I've watched conservative pundits come out not necessarily in favor of gay marriage, but in indifference about it. That's a pretty significant shift and I think a lot of it has to do with more people being exposed to the LGBT community. I remember when all these LGBT couples started getting married and people were sharing photos. When people see other people that happy (and normal) together, attitude definitely shifts. It's thrilling to see people feel empowered and protected enough to show their love. That's not to say that everything is perfect. I got called a f----t by some bros in a bar on a recent trip to Chicago, but even though that happened, I definitely feel that more people are on my side. It felt ... extra wrong for them to say that. I didn't feel like they had an excuse anymore to put someone down like that now that DOMA has been struck down.
What are the ways in which the DOMA ruling has fallen short?
I wish we could have gone further with it. Leaving it up to the states doesn't help everyone. Federal policy helps guide state legislatures, but striking down DOMA doesn't automatically help everyone everywhere. I'm incredibly grateful and relieved that it was struck down, but I think a lot of people feel like they've brought down the big evil. Mission accomplished! More states are passing laws protecting LGBT rights, but others are doing the opposite. I think we could have better used the momentum of the DOMA ruling to more quickly enact change on the state level.
What would you like President Obama and future leaders to prioritize in terms of LGBT rights?
Federal protection. States have proven that not all of them are capable of providing equal rights and I think it's up to our leaders to create more drastic protection (i.e. marriage equality, hate crime legislation, workers' rights, etc) from the top down. Marriage equality shouldn't be a discussion anymore and I'm ready for a leader to be brave enough to squash it.
What are your hopes and dreams for the next generation or [for your children]?
That this long, long struggle is part of my generation, not theirs. I don't want them to even think about it. I don't want them to be scared to come out and I want them to feel normal even if they're different. More than that, I want parents everywhere to teach their children that people love different types of people and that's okay.
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